Wherever you are, whoever you are, you must’ve heard of The Lord of the Rings. Whether you consider yourself a fan, or you despise anyone who simply brings up the name: you’ve been affected by it.
I watched The Fellowship of the Ring (first movie from three) for the first time back in the early of 2002. I liked it, but I was still in the ‘I’ve heard about this movie, so let’s watch it’ phase, back then. I remember when Frodo & Sam looked somberly at Mordor in the distance, and I turned to my brother (who was watching it with me, dunno if for his first time…) and said,’What about the Ring then? I thought they’d destroy it by the end.’
‘This is the first movie of three,’ was my brother’s patient reply.
Then The Two Towers was premiered. And my journey into Middle-earth took hold.
I remember I watched it at the cinema, barely remembering what had happened in The Fellowship of the Ring, a year before. Yet to say I loved it would be an understatement. I re-watched The Fellowship of the Ring after that, then shortly returned to the cinema for my second and third re-watch (of The Two Towers). Before The Return of the King had made it into theatres the next year, I had finished reading the three books (yes, I know they’re technically 6 books, but there’s no time for that discussion here!) In a matter of months I also read The Hobbit and The Silmarillion.
During this period, the internet was already becoming the greatest and most powerful and knowledge-base in homes, and it helped a lot with getting me hooked to The Lord of the Rings further. I ventured and delved deeper in every manuscript related to (even if distantly) the world of Middle-earth. I re-read The Lord of the Rings, watched the movies for God-knows-how-many other times…
All my thanks go therefore to J.R.R. Tolkien (who I know is watching from high above) for inventing this masterpiece of a world. By doing so, he introduced me to my love for the Fantasy genre — which was dormant inside me for so many many years (yes, there were symptoms, of course there were symptoms!) From The Lord of the Rings I moved to Dungeons & Dragons and the fantastical world of tabletop role-playing games. Needless to say, I shortly discovered my love for writing (which had also lain dormant through the years, waiting to come out). I still remember how this new-found love led me to various attempts at creating an epic saga myself (yes, it’s important to follow your dreams). Funny, but actually it did lead me to eventually write and publish Tales from Alrais.
And then it’s like a whirlpool, as they say. As my love for fiction grew, so did the list of books I read. A song of ice & fire (by George R.R. Martin, as we all know!), Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and (the most recent) Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson were among the most impacting. You might argue my love of books and fiction is innate. I won’t argue against that. I am here, however, to official claim that I have discovered this all thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien. And I hope that others might discover it too.
So… Dear J.R.R. Tolkien: Thank you!